God is a loving God. He desires to bless us. But more than that, He desires to mold our character to becoming more like Christ. Why? Because that is what holds eternal value. Earthly blessings will fade away. But then there are times when we’re so attached to our blessings that we don’t want to let go. So how do you surrender the blessing you love most?
Waiting is not actually the favorite word of many. And surely not mine. A lot of us get impatient when the line to use the restroom is 5M long or when the traffic caused us to be late despite the fact that we did our part in terms of waking up early and leaving the house at least an hour before an appointment.
Still everyday, we have to wait. And admit it or not, we get impatient.
1. God’s Waiting Room is God’s Classroom. We are first and foremost God’s child than we are an employee. a business man, a student. So whenever you are getting ticked off while being asked to wait, remember who you are.
Take that time to talk with your Father. After all, it is such a better use of time than to complain to your friends or post the traffic status in Facebook. God may be using this time to tell you something.
Certainly in God’s waiting room, you will continue to learn how to become more like His Son, Jesus.
2. Understanding the character of God. “What you think about God is the most important thing about you”-A.W. Tozer. I like this quote. It personalizes our relationship with our Savior. Which leads me to ask, what do you think about God? Who is He to you?
Do you know Him well enough to know that He promised you the following:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” - John 14:27
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” - Romans 10:9
If you know God intimately, you know that His reasons, His plans are always for your good. Then you can rest and wait.
3. It is God’s Command. Do I need to say more? To encourage you, the Bible has 43 verses on waiting. Some of which are:
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” - Psalm 37:7
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” - Lamentations 3: 35
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” - Psalm 27: 14
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” – Micah 7:7
David waited 15 years to become king. 8 years of which he was being chased by Saul who wanted him killed. Abraham waited 25 years to have a son; and soon became the father of all nations. Joseph waited 13 years in Egypt to be meet with his family.
May you, who are waiting on the Lord be encouraged as you continue to walk and abide in Him.
A lot of people wonder about their faith. How come I find it so hard to put my trust in God? How come I don’t feel my faith?
Naaman, the Leprous Commander
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.“ - 2 Kings 5:1
Naaman was a great man. He was highly esteemed in the eyes of the king. A powerful man – he was a military general. He had many, many victories. He was also leprous.
“Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” - 2Kings 5:2-3
And Naaman, being a man who was well-off, sought healing. He wanted to be cleansed of his leprosy.
“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” - 2 Kings 5:9-10
He went to Elisha because he believed that Elisha could heal him. But there was a problem.
“But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.” - 2 Kings 5:11
In the eastern culture, it was customary to greet a person of great importance as they arrive at the door. Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman. Probably his servant. Signaling that Elisha did not really care about the importance of Naaman. And to top it off, he was asked to dip himself in the dirty, muddy, Jordan river.
You see, Naaman was also a proud man. Pride is the one distinctive that brought even Lucifer to his fall.
“Pride is like a cancer that will rob you even of common sense.” - C.S. Lewis
God has a way of denting the pride – He struck Naaman with just a touch of leprosy to remind him of his finitude. And when Naaman did not like God’s way on being healed from his leprosy, he got angry. He did not want to do it God’s way. He wanted God to do it his way.
Most unbelievers are willing to go God’s way if God goes their way.
And sometimes, even with us Christians, whenever things go tough, we do not want to follow. Our faith does not translate into action when it is no longer easy for us.
Our trust in God falls short.
The uniform tells us who he was.
The medals tells all he’s done.
All of a sudden he’s without both.
Suddenly he realizes he’s just like everybody else.
When you realize your finitude, that is when you realize your dependence on God. That is when you realize that all things is under His sovereign will. That is when you realize, you need to put your trust in Him.
Putting your complete dependence in God has a lot to deal with how you look at yourself and how you look at God.
If you see yourself as how Naaman saw himself without his medals and uniform, you will realize your finitude and your need for God.
If you see God as an all-powerful, almighty, sovereign, loving God, who cares about you and knows where you are in life, you will be able to trust Him.
Faith is a matter of the heart and mind. It deals with humility, trust, and and accurate fear and knowledge of God according to His Word.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, it roots to much more than just the act. The act is a symptom – but what is the cause behind it? Is it pride? Selfishness? Is it rebellion?
The fall of man did not start from the disobedience. No, that was the trigger. The real fall of man was when they chose to call God a liar. It was when their faith was overcome by doubt and lies. Remember what the Serpent said?
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1
The Serpent sowed seeds of doubt in Adam and Eve and accused God. Then the Serpent laid down the biggest temptation to Adam and Eve.
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:5
The Biggest Temptation
Is the desire to define what is good and define what is evil for themselves.
Nowadays, society is redefining what is good and what is evil.
The world calls masturbation good. The world calls sex before marriage good. The world calls business under the table good. The world calls bribing policemen as good and wise. Society has changed morality – what is called good and what is called evil has been re-defined and re-named by society.
The Naming Process
Abortion has renamed the child within as a ‘product of love’. Adulterous relationships have been renamed as extramarital affairs. Naming is a very important part of our lives.
Remember when Adam named all the animals? He called it what it is. Remember when God had Moses write down the Law? He named every violation as what it is.
The naming process is a sacred one. When Jesus renamed Simon as Peter, He was doing something more than just changing a name – He was changing an identity. When God calls you His child – He is changing who you are. You are no longer a child of this world. You have a new name. A new identity.
The naming process can alter what you believe in. It can soften it up. It can harden things and slam it to your face. The naming process deals with the heart.
Society is trying to change what we believe as good and what we believe as evil – and this will ultimately change how we live.
An evil person lives in an evil way because what he believes is true is a lie.
A good person lives in a good way because what he believes is true is the truth.
Know the Truth
Where do we find truth? Who has defined good? Where do we find the standard? The definition of good and evil?
There is only one moral law giver – God. His Word is the ultimate authority when it comes to morality.
Therefore what God has called good, let us not call evil. What God has called evil, let us not call good.
There is only one Truth – Jesus Christ Himself.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6
Naming influences what defines you. Naming influences what you believe in. Call things what they are in light of the Law of the Lord.
How do you change your life? Change what you believe in. Know the truth – what is good? What is evil?
Put your faith in God.
I was talking with my dad about where it would be better to live in – a house or a condo? You see, I’ve been pondering this question in my mind for a while.
While a house also has its own good sets of things to think about – your own garden, parking space, privacy and perhaps serenity from noisy neighbors (in a Condo’s case, neighbors can literally mean next-door tenants), bigger space to live in, and so on.
But the main things that I’ve been thinking about is my assurance of safety from natural disaster namely: Earthquakes.
Well let’s not make things too complicated – everyone doesn’t want to die. Which means that, to an extent, almost everyone doesn’t really feel good when an earthquake happens. I don’t want to die in an earthquake.
So I told my dad: “Wouldn’t it be better to live in a house? So that when an earthquake hits, chances are you wouldn’t die?”
What he said changed my view on where to live and, ultimately, reminded me of where I should put my security.
“Whether you live in a condo or house doesn’t matter. Who can save you when a tsunami hits and you’re in a house? A condo is taller and chances are you’ll be safer there. In the end, wherever you live in, your life is in God’s hands”
Of course that doesn’t mean I’m living in a condo.
The point is: where is your security?
Put your security in God. He is mighty to save.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:15-16
I can’t picture God throwing up because of a person’s lack of passion. I can’t picture God throwing up, period.
This is not to question the salvation of some Christians. This is more of a reminder of what the Bible tells us; that we are saved for a reason. Yes, God loves us so much that He gave His Son to die on the cross. By accepting the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, we died to our old selves and let Christ live in and through us. Yes, He not only lives IN us, but THROUGH us as well.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us in advance” – Ephesians 2:10
Most of us know it already – that upon accepting Christ, there should be a change within us; in the way we speak, think, act and live our lives. Yes, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Yes, it’s a process, but the point is that it’s happening and at some point it should manifest. I remember Timothy Keller in one of his messages: “Good works are not means to be saved. Rather, they are signs that you are saved.”
James puts it in a very straightforward manner:
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. “ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. – James 2:18
This is not to say that faith alone cannot save you; that you need good works in order to be saved. Rather, this is to say that a claim should be backed up by evidence. Faith is manifested in a changed life through good works. It is a byproduct of the salvation you and I have received in Christ Jesus, and He tells us that we are to do it whenever we can in whatever way we can, as long as we have the power to do so.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” – when you have it now with you. – Proverbs 3:27-28
You can sit back, relax and view your faith as your ticket to heaven. But faith in Jesus is more than just your ticket to eternal life. It’s also a license to change the world, just as what Christ and His disciples did.
More often than not, when we travel to an unfamiliar place – whether it’s a new summer haven or a developing tourist spot, one of the first things we ask is directions on how to get there. We’d search for a roadmap and study it, so that when we decide to go, we wouldn’t be lost.
This is based on a devotion I shared over the weekend. Somehow, I was convicted to write it down to clear the points I’ve mentioned in the message and support them with scripture. For those who’ve heard the devotion, I hope this article would convey the points I wanted to bring across more clearly.
Somehow, we behave the same way when it comes to God’s Will. When God casts His vision, we would want to ask Him for full details. But God often reveals them step by step.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve encountered two stories in the bible that fascinated me. One is in Mark 8:22-26 where Jesus performed a two-staged miracle in healing a blind man from Bethsaida. The other is from 2 Kings 2:1-11 where Elijah was taken up to heaven. I had the same question on both stories – why did God made the blind man and Elijah go through “checkpoints”? Why did He reveal His Will step by step? What was God’s point in doing so?
God wants us to know who He is. It is often hard to know God’s will in certain aspects of our lives, not because we don’t pray enough nor is it because He’s just messing up with our heads. All over scripture God tells us, “I am the Lord your God”. In our anxious moments to know what God has in store for us at the end of His Will He tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I believe that more than the destination, He wants us to know who He is – His omnipotence, His omnipresence, His omniscience, His joy, His peace, and His love.
Christ makes us ready, and often that takes time. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is a time for everything. It’s true that God casts His vision on us – but He reveals the steps to achieve that vision step by step. He told Abraham that he will be the father of all nations, but God didn’t tell Him right away that He will test his faith by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. He had a vision for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but it wasn’t until chapter 4 that opposition came.
Try doing this as an experiment. Go to a room with bright lights and stay there for a while, then suddenly turn off the lights. Notice that at that instant all you will see is pitch black, but give it time and slowly your eyes will adjust and you’ll start seeing. In the same way when you suddenly turn on the lights, you squint because the light is too much and your eyes aren’t ready for it, but in a few moments they will adjust and you will see things clearly.
Think of it the same way with God’s Will. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says “…Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
God wants us to trust Him. The notion of the unknown often gives way to trust in the One who truly knows. The bible tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). This involves trusting Him in situations where we will be inconvenienced, situations we don’t want to be in or situations we want to skip. We hold on to the promise that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Instead of having a roadmap, wouldn’t be better to have someone who truly knows where we are supposed to go walk us there?
“What you don’t know can’t hurt you” – ever heard this saying before? I believe it’s an idea quite similar to my topic for this entry. You won’t know what you’ve missed unless someone who knows what could have been, tells you. Why do people miss God-given opportunities?
Let’s take it from the Bible
Reading 2 Chronicles 15:17, it says that king “Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his life.” Now that is a very rare and difficult compliment to achieve from the Bible – and Asa was one of those kings who have evidently achieved it.
But right on the next chapter we can see that Asa has made some wrong decisions late in his reign and lifetime. 2 Chronicles 7 says “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram.”
The context behind this is that Asa was first challenged by a million-strong army of Ethiopians while his own Israelite army numbered only 580,000. He was clearly outnumbered by almost half. But he called on to God and God gave him victory. It was a great show of faith in God on king Asa’s part.
But after years of peace, he has forgotten how God has given him great victory and delivered him from the Ethiopians. Instead of turning to God in a up-coming feud against the Israelites, (Asa was king of Judah and he was at ‘civil’ war with then king of Israel) he turned to the king of Aram for help – bribing the king of Aram with gold and silver dedicated to the Lord from the temple.
The Lord did not let this slip away. Is it a small matter? Maybe… But not for God. Remember that without faith it is impossible to please God – and clearly, king Asa did not put his faith in God with this act of turning to the king of Aram for help.
So God gave Asa another chance to turn to Him – He struck Asa with a severe foot disease. What happened? Again, Asa did not turn to God – he had a rebellious and hardened heart. He turned to his physicians for help. But they could not heal him.
I want to emphasize on the point wherein Azariah told Asa that he missed his chance of defeating the armies of the king of Aram. Would Asa know what could have been? Perhaps not. He wasn’t a seer or a prophet. But he did miss something, right? Something great. And isn’t that what happens in our lives today?
We miss what we would have missed
We might not know it but we do miss great, God-given chances. We miss chances when we don’t tell our parents of our faith in God and how we want to praise Him because they might think we’re stupid with our faith. We miss chances when we don’t tell our brother or sister of our faith and passion for God because we’re afraid they might think it’s awkward. We miss our chances with friends because we’re afraid they’d think we’re crazy and a freak when we share our faith with them.
In all this, we lack faith and trust in God that He will be the one to work in and through them. We don’t want to put our faces and our reputation on the line and we miss our chance. Don’t make the same mistake as king Asa did. I want my opportunities in life. I will grab them. I will trust God enough that I will put everything on the line just so that I’ll get it.
I pray that you’ll also make it so with your choices.
There are so many lingering questions about the Bible in people’s minds – even today. There are just some things that can never be answered regarding the Bible. They say it’s a mystery. Some say it’s an impossibility. I say I know the answer. But will you be able to accept it?
This entry was inspired by my usual walk to the place where I swim laps. During those walks I get a lot of time to think.
When I was younger I had so many sets of questions in my mind about the Bible. Questions like:
“How about the other people who are in remote parts of the world?”
“How about the babies who aren’t able to decide and comprehend about Christianity yet?”
“How about the people in the world before Christ?”
And the questions went on and on… It was literally endless.
This world we live in makes the questions endless as the generations pass us by and as history writes out our lives. A lot of my friends here and there talk to me about the questions running in their heads about the Bible. As I’ve said in my recent post, there is no one knock-down argument. But there is an answer.
The question is, if I tell you the answer, will you be able to accept it? Will you be able to even consider it? Will you keep on searching why it is the answer?
There will always be Biblical mysteries. Just as there will always be mysteries here on Earth and in our lives. And when my friends ask me the most unanswerable Biblical questions they have, this is what I tell them: The answer is Faith. Faith in God.
The moment you develop faith in God that’s when you try to know Him more and see the questions in a different light. The moment you believe He exists and the more you get to know Him, the more you realize that the questions don’t really matter.
Unless you accept faith as the answer to your questions, you will never run out of ‘em.